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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
October 28, 2018

Guess What? Everyone Was Wrong About Tesla

Pretty much everything has been said about Tesla: it was selling vehicles at a loss and would never be able to make them under the right conditions and fast enough, that its founder was crazy and would lead the company to ruin, while one industry veteran acclaimed the Model S, calling on car collectors to buy one “before the company goes belly up.” But this quarter, Tesla has not only made tons of money, boosting its share price and giving the NASDAQ its best day in months, but has also fulfilled its production and distribution objectives, showing every sign of staying in the black, at least until it has to pay interest on loans in the first quarter of next year.

For once, this third quarter does not seem to be the exception: everything indicates the company has found a stable way to generate profits. What’s more, Tesla is no longer an industry quirk: many have laughed at its production difficulties, grossly underestimating the achievement of moving from a standing start to mass producing 80,000 vehicles per quarter, but the company is now outselling Porsche, Mercedes Benz and BMW, making it the best-selling domestically-made car in the United States, and what’s more with a model that while expensive, is more advanced technologically, as well as cheaper and much safer to run that its internal combustion powered competitors.

This quarter’s spectacular results have confounded the analysts’ forecasts, proving what some of us have been saying for a while now, that few in the motor industry and its so-called experts few understand the strategic vision of a company prepared to take risks to change the world. Virtually everyone was wrong about Tesla’s finances and its future, and many analysts are now scratching their heads trying to understand what happened while still making recommendations of questionable credibility. For one thing, most analysts simply can’t get their head round the idea that a company’s customers would volunteer to help distribute its vehicles, contributing to a project they consider themselves part of. Elon Musk will doubtless be basking in the warm glow of his “I told you so” triumph, because he does understand that people want to be part of a project that is not about selling cars, but changing the world.

Understanding a business model like Tesla’s means understanding that the biggest difficulties aren’t necessarily the ones you imagine. Tesla has shown that difficult challenges can be overcome, as many other companies have done before. It has shown that it’s possible to design long-term strategies and implement them successfully, even if that means having to listen to baseless nonsense from people who don’t understand what it’s are doing. For example, that the company was wrong not to locate in China, that its production costs were unsustainable and would drive it out of business. Yet Tesla’s assembly line is now making progressive savings as production increases, and next year, depending on global demand, it could even consider moving a part of its manufacturing to China: now, not before.


October 28, 2018

Ron DeSantis fires back: Andrew Gillum 'called me a dog' at debate

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Republican Ron DeSantis had a fiery response Saturday to the flap over him calling his Democratic opponent for governor Andrew Gillum by his first name at two statewide debates.

“He called a me a dog at the debate,” DeSantis said after Fox News 13 Tampa reporter Jennifer Holton asked him about the issue. “Did you watch that?”

“So what, he has his own standard, and I have a different standard? … OK, fine. Crooked Mayor Gillum, how about that? He took bribes,’’ DeSantis continued. “How about failed Mayor Gillum? He has the highest crime in Tallahassee, the highest number of murders in history.”

Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, complained about DeSantis using his first name at rally on Thursday. During the debates, Gillum called DeSantis either “congressman” or “Mr. DeSantis.”

Read more: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-ne-ron-desantis-andrew-gillum-dog-20181027-story.html

He's had a week, and that's the best he can come up with? Whadda snowflake.

Boo hoo hoo.
October 28, 2018

Assange would surrender to Britain if no US extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would end his five-year stay in Ecuador's London embassy and hand himself over to British authorities if given assurances he would not face extradition to the United States, his lawyer said Friday.

Assange has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, concerned that a British arrest warrant would result in his extradition to the United States, where he could be tried for revealing state secrets.

Assange would "face up" to surrendering to British authorities who want to arrest him for breaching bail conditions, said his lawyer Carlos Poveda.

"In British justice, he could even be sentenced to three to six months' imprisonment," Poveda said.


I suspect Ecuador may have put Assange on notice that he needs to prepare for his exit, either voluntarily or involuntarily. And so he's seeing how good a deal he can extract from the Brits before he's shoved out the embassy door, IMHO.

October 27, 2018

Coulter, Limbaugh and others stick with conspiracy theories after mail-bomb suspect's arrest

The sending of package bombs to prominent Democrats and other high-profile figures this week was accompanied by a disturbing phenomenon. Baseless conspiracy theories, once confined to the fringes in the wake of violent acts, leaped with shocking speed into the mainstream discussion of the attacks.

A surprisingly large number of figures from the conservative establishment — commentators, radio hosts, a Trump family member, and other pro-Trump figures — shared, liked, hinted at, raised questions about or otherwise endorsed an evidence-less theory that this was a “false-flag” attack — one that was staged to advance the political goals of the very people it seemed intended to hurt (in this case, Democrats).

But the FBI’s arrest of a suspect Friday pointed to the hollowness of these claims, raising questions about why they were voiced on such a fraught issue in the absence of evidence. The bombs were not “hoax devices,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said Friday. The suspect, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, “appears to be a partisan,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. And images circulating of the suspect’s van, which was plastered with pro-Trump and anti-Democrat imagery, and what was believed to be his social media feed, painted a portrait of a distinctly right-wing ideology.

The devices were addressed to former president Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former attorney general Eric. H Holder Jr., and liberal philanthropist George Soros, among others. Most of the packages had the office of Rep. Debbie Wausserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as the return address.


October 27, 2018

Papadopoulos seeks immunity to testify before Senate Intelligence Committee

Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, whose outreach efforts to Russian officials made him a focus of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, is seeking immunity before he agrees to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to congressional aides — despite having spoken with House lawmakers for seven hours behind closed doors Thursday.

Papadopoulos asked the Senate panel for immunity before he went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss his involvement with the Trump campaign with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and the Government Reform committees meeting jointly, according to a person familiar with the request. The Republican members of those panels were sympathetic to Papadopoulos’s claims that he was “set up” by the FBI, along with British and Australian officials, to create the appearance that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had had untoward dealings with Russia. Papadopoulos has not made public any evidence supporting his claim.

But after his House testimony, Papadopoulos did not drop his demand for immunity from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which rarely grants such requests and is unlikely to do so in this instance, given that Papadopoulos already spoke to other lawmakers without such a guarantee.

Witnesses usually seek immunity to avoid potential exposure to criminal prosecution for what they reveal in their statements. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and last month was sentenced to two weeks in prison on those charges. He has yet to serve his sentence. But Friday, Papadopoulos said on Fox News that he was “considering withdrawing” his guilty plea in Mueller’s probe, asserting that he “was framed” in the investigation.


October 27, 2018

The mail-bomb suspect's van, annotated

News crews arrived at the auto parts store in Florida where authorities arrested mail-bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, 56, before FBI agents could secure and remove a white van that purportedly belongs to Sayoc. Television cameras obtained images of the van, revealing windows covered with apparent images of President Trump and slogans and rhetoric common among Trump supporters. Mixed in were graphics apparently created by Sayoc himself. Authorities soon covered the van with a heavy blue tarp.

The images spread quickly on social media, with several people indicating that they’d seen — and photographed — the van in the area of Florida where Sayoc lived. Natalie Kline photographed the van in May 2017 and provided photos to The Washington Post.

There are three large windows, two on the driver’s side and one on the passengers' side, covered with images and text. The double doors on the passenger side each had images covering the windows; the doors at the back of the van were covered mostly with text. The only windows without some sort of graphics were the drivers' side window and, presumably, the windshield.

This image, a digitally created collage of images and text, appears on both the rear passenger and middle driver’s side windows.

October 27, 2018

Assange hearing halted for lack of 'Australian'-fluent translator

The first hearing in Julian Assange's lawsuit against Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Ministry was suspended as the WikiLeaks founder was unable to understand his translator, and the judge called for a replacement fluent in "Australian."

Speaking from Ecuador's Embassy in London via Skype, Assange said the court-appointed translation service was "not good enough." Judge Karina Martinez said that it was indispensable that Assange testify, and said the court had erred by appointing a translator who only spoke English, apparently under the impression that Australian dialect is unintelligible to other anglophones.

Assange filed the suit against Foreign Minister Jose Valencia last week, saying that new rules being imposed on him at the London embassy violate his constitutional rights. Assange, an Ecuadorian citizen since December, could be expelled from the embassy should he fail to comply with the new rules, which say he must refrain from commenting on politics, and clear any visitors with the embassy three working days in advance.

Assange sought the protection of Ecuador in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced allegations of rape, or the US, where he could face trial for publishing secret government documents.


One would have thought that after being holed up over 6 years in the Ecuadorean embassy he'd be pretty fluent in Spanish by now. Guess he couldn't be bothered.

October 23, 2018

GOP candidate Ron DeSantis backs out of meeting with USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida

Ron DeSantis will not sit down today with the editorial boards of the Tallahassee Democrat and USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida.

A spokesman for the campaign informed the Democrat this morning DeSantis would not be attending the hour-long meeting in Tallahassee.

The campaign said a statement would be forthcoming, but by late afternoon nothing was sent.

DeSantis had agreed last week to the hour-long discussion with editors and readers of the six newspapers that make up the USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida.


October 22, 2018

Elon Musk says first tunnel for proposed underground transportation network will open in December

Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

Elon Musk announced Sunday that the first tunnel of a proposed underground transportation network across Los Angeles County would open Dec. 10.

“The first tunnel is almost done,” Musk wrote to his 23.1 million followers shortly after 5 p.m.

Musk’s Boring Co. is building the tunnel beneath the city of Hawthorne, part of his grand vision for a transportation network that whisks commuters across the county.

The company has said its technology could move drivers, as well as pods carrying passengers and bicyclists, through tunnels at speeds of up to 130 mph.

Read more: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/transportation/la-me-ln-musk-tunnel-20181021-story.html

One thing you can say with certainty about Musk -- he is ambitious.
October 19, 2018

Red-tide awakening: How Florida's environmental woes could hurt GOP's Scott in Senate race

By 8:30 a.m. last Monday, the temperature on the fishing pier had already risen above 90 degrees. The heat index, according to a long-suffering FM radio weatherman, was making it feel 10 degrees hotter. On the bright side, the rancid stench born of a yearlong red tide, and the abundance of dead sea life it left behind, had dissipated. But the few beachgoers lingering at the shoreline still seemed uncertain whether to enter the pea-green, murky Gulf water for a swim.

Wearing swim trunks and a floppy sun hat and holding a fishing pole, Rob Merlino, 54, watched the would-be bathers from the pier, sympathetic to their dilemma.

“There were days when they were saying, ‘The water’s fine. The red tide is gone,’ and it was brown as poop out here,” Merlino told Yahoo News, going on to describe the burning sensation that an aerosolized Karenia brevis algae bloom causes when inhaled. “You couldn’t breathe!”

A self-described “right-wing libertarian type,” Merlino grew so incensed over what he saw as Gov. Rick Scott’s inadequate response to the red tide that has plagued Florida’s Gulf coast for an entire year that on Sept. 17, he decided to send him a message.


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